The other side of fear is more fear

Jessica Salinas

I consider myself plagued by inaction. Similar to Esther Greenwood in Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar,” my life branches out before me like a fig tree. The tip of each branch is every possible future I could have if I so choose. I starve because of my indecision. The figs of my future begin to wrinkle and go black; they plop to the ground at my feet.

I put things off for days, weeks, months and even years. I will postpone anything and everything. It can range from renewing my vehicle’s registration sticker to completing an assignment, and from waiting until the end of the year to quit my job to putting off telling someone how I feel.

I find comfort in my long periods of inactivity. Yes, I stay in the same spot, but at least I don’t get hurt. I get too comfortable; I pretend I’m okay with my self-imposed stasis. I get stuck in years-long ruts; it’s not okay, because nothing changes—I don’t change.

I don’t grow as a person. I don’t let myself become better. And I tell myself, ‘there’s always tomorrow,’ or ‘I’ll do it later,’ even though tomorrow’s not going to come around, and I’m not going to do whatever I postpone.

The procrastination’s usually a bad mix of laziness and perfectionism, but when it comes to action—fear always wins out. I let my fear get the best of me. It’s a fear of failing or succeeding, finishing something or beginning something, rejection or acceptance. It’s all the same; I’m still afraid. My fear (usually accompanied by paranoia, suspicion and anxiety) still paralyzes me.

I’m not going to wake up one morning and suddenly be unafraid. I can’t wait until I’m ready to face my fears, because the day may never come. To be entirely cliché, sometimes I just have to bite the bullet and face my fears head on.

I can’t say I’ve been on the other side of fear many times. For me, the other side of fear is more fear, but there’s freedom too. It’s as if a huge weight’s been lifted off my shoulders. There’s freedom in knowing the truth, even if the truth is a crippling blow. Now, I can move on. I’m looking at life differently. It’s a slight difference,